Hello all! We spent this past weekend exploring Vladimir and Suzdal, two of the oldest cities in Russia.
Early on Saturday, a speed train took us east from Moscow to Vladimir, an ancient town that was laid in 1108. For years, it was Russia's richest town where the govenment was located. In 1238, during Tatar-Mongol invasion, the town was destroyed; mongolian tribes stole all the gold from churches, burned houses and cut major trading routes between Vladimir and other cities. Later, however, the town regained its power and even became a capital.
Today, there are more than 200 preserved buildings of the 17th-19th century which makes Vladimir one of the major destinations for tourists.
Amongst pre-Tatar-Mongolian stone buoldings of a particular interest are Assumption Cathedral (built 1158-1160), Cathedral of Saint Demetrius (built 1194-1197), and The Golden Gates Cathedral Museum (1158-1164).
Afetr that, we took a bus to Suzdal - another ancient town founded in 10th century. The majority of the stone buildings were constucted in 16th century, after Tatar-Mongol invasion. During that time, Suzdal was an important trading town in the heart of agricultural region. But later the town stopped developing because the Trans-Siberian Railway bypassed it. In our opinion, for the best - the town's appearance has remained unchanged, and there is not a single building taller than 2 stores!
In Suzdal, we went on a tour to traditional log cabin village - Museum of Wooden Architecture and Pesant Life to see how peasants lived, worked, and worshiped in 17th-19th centuries.
The next day, we woke up early and decided to walk down to the street market for souvenir shopping. The local vendors were selling homemade pickles, pickled tomatoes, pinecone jam, honey and arts. We, of course, set our eyes on Matryoshkas and traditional Russian scarves!
Our global navigators had a chance to attend an old Russian school and got a lesson on cyrillic calligraphy.
The most interactive part of our time in Suzdal was a cooking class. On a farm that was built to film movies, we were making Russian pastry - ватрушки - sweet rolls with sugar. Our cultural immersion was at its highest point!
Our global navigators will be bringing the recipe back to the US - no excuse for not making it for their family and friends!
Meanwhile, Rachel and I found ourselves a little wooden cabin for summer dacha. :)
- Anna and Rachel